In Step with the Heavenly Beat

An Account of Gurumayi’s Birthday Celebration

Shree Muktananda Ashram
June 23 – 24, 2015

Part XIII

We were sitting in silence following the arati when we heard the joyful squeal of a young baby girl. Gurumayi laughed and invited the child’s father to share about “the sounds of children.”

I offer seva as the head of the Taruna Poshana Department in the SYDA Foundation. This department oversees Siddha Yoga teaching and learning events for children, young adults, and families. Therefore, I was especially interested to hear what the father would say. With a big smile, he stood up and explained that earlier that morning, he had been fortunate to be in the Lower Lobby of Anugraha when two of the Gurudev Siddha Peeth Trustees were offering birthday gifts to Gurumayi on behalf of the Siddha Yoga sangham in India. A child had been playing nearby. At one point Gurumayi heard the child cry out, and Gurumayi laughed and said that the wonderful sounds of children always take her back to Gurudev Siddha Peeth. Gurumayi recalled that in satsangs, as soon as the host would say, “And now, let’s meditate…” the children would start laughing, crying, giggling, and squealing. This happened so often that simply hearing the sounds of children became a sweet invitation to meditate.

Gurumayi thanked the father for sharing, and then said to all of us, “Bade Baba loved children. Does anybody know any stories about Bade Baba and children?” When Gurumayi said this, I looked at the children who were seated together near Gurumayi and in front of Bade Baba’s murti. I could feel their heart connection with Gurumayi and Bade Baba.

Participants raised their hands and eagerly shared stories they had heard or read. One participant shared how, in the village of Ganeshpuri many decades ago, children used to visit Bade Baba in his Ashram on their way to school, and he would give them milk as prasad.

Another participant shared how Bade Baba would go with the local children to the river and swim with them. Often he would sit or lie in complete tranquility while the children played all around him.

I shared the following story: A few days ago I was walking near the Temple with a two-and-a-half-year-old girl who was visiting Shree Muktananda Ashram with her family. Something on the grass caught the child’s attention. She leaned down and picked up a little feather. She held it and gazed at it as if it were the most beautiful treasure in the world. Then she looked toward the Temple and said, “I want to give this to Bade Baba!” I happily accompanied the little girl to the Temple so that she could make her offering. This is something I see so often when children have darshan: they spontaneously want to make an offering to the Guru. They are completely in touch with the heart’s natural impulse to give.

The sharing session was punctuated by exclamations of delight as we relished the stories of Bade Baba’s unconditional love.

When it came to a sweet conclusion, Meera Laube-Szapiro, the event director, stood up and said, “Thank you, to all the children…” Gurumayi added, with a big smile, “All the children, young and old!” Meera laughed and thanked all of us, young and old, for our participation in this jubilant celebration of Gurumayi’s Birthday.

In response, it seemed that every heart overflowed with fresh bubbling joy—for as one, we all leapt to our feet, clapping and cheering. Together, we exclaimed, “Happy Birthday, Gurumayi!” Gurumayi laughed and clasped her hands together over her head. In that moment, we all felt a love connection, completely in step with the heavenly beat. There was only love, nothing but love—throughout the Temple, and between Gurumayi and her devotees everywhere.

In the ecstatic, vibrant moments after we had taken our seats, Meera announced that it was time to come forward for darshan of Bade Baba. Meera also shared that Gurumayi had requested that we each receive a gardenia to offer to Bade Baba during darshan! Meera invited the children and families to come forward for darshan first.

I was one of the sevites holding trays of exquisite gardenias. The fragrance of the flowers permeated the atmosphere. I was touched to see the love and care with which each child selected a delicate blossom, approached the padukas, and looked for just the right spot to place their offering. I felt deeply appreciative to these children for applying their intellects to learning, at such a young age, how to perform worship with good understanding. And my heart filled with gratitude to Gurumayi for giving the children this means of expressing the pure love in their hearts. Thank you, Gurumayi!
Following darshan with Bade Baba, one of the children made her way to Gurumayi. One by one, the other children followed, and they each took a seat around Gurumayi’s chair. They clearly had not yet finished wishing Gurumayi a happy birthday! The parents came forward as well, and sat behind the children. The faces of children and parents alike were brimming with joy. The children offered Gurumayi the gifts they had made together—a birthday card featuring colorful drawings of lotuses and a book of rainbow hearts expressing their birthday wishes to Gurumayi. The children shared excitedly about their contributions to the card—which drawings they had made, which wishes they had written. Gurumayi listened attentively and lovingly to each child. I marveled at how, in the radiance of Gurumayi’s love, the children’s faces became even brighter and they sat a little taller. I understood that in these precious interactions with their Guru, the children were experiencing the essential Siddha Yoga teaching: God dwells within you as you.

While Gurumayi was giving darshan to the children, she asked the musicians to play Nacho Re Mero Mana! whose refrain means “Dance, my heart, dance today in ecstasy!” This glorious bhajan by the poet-saint Kabir, with music composed by Gurumayi, is one of the most loved bhajans on the Siddha Yoga path. It is traditionally played in Siddha Yoga Ashrams and Siddha Yoga meditation centers throughout the world during satsangs held in celebration of Gurumayi’s Birthday.

Verse 1 says:

As soon as the musicians began playing, many of the children immediately recognized the bhajan. They literally jumped with joy at this golden opportunity to sing with Gurumayi. With each refrain more children joined in, singing with gleeful abandon. I recalled that in March 2014, during the Shri Guru Gita Recitation Satsang in honor of the Siddha Yoga Chanting Tour in Australia—Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, Gurumayi spoke about the importance of supporting children to learn music, to learn to sing and play musical instruments, so that music becomes part of their lives. Gurumayi said, “The world needs music.” Right now, in Bade Baba’s Temple, in celebration of Gurumayi’s birth in this world, we were manifesting the ecstatic music of the heart—and the world was receiving Gurumayi’s music in all its transformative power.
As we all sang the final refrain of “Nacho re,” sevites entered the Temple carrying baskets overflowing with a delightful assortment of stuffed animals, or “stuffies.” These were prasad from Gurumayi, and each child was invited to choose one. The children eagerly chose stuffies and thanked Gurumayi.

I looked at the children hugging their new stuffies, and at their parents; they were all so happy! My heart was moist with gratitude and love as I reflected on what it means for the world that children throughout the global sangham are growing up on the Siddha Yoga path. I see them carrying the manifold blessings and grace of this auspicious celebration and sharing the fruits with their families, communities, and the world they live in. I see them growing up, contributing their skills and knowledge to the Siddha Yoga path, and learning, as Gurumayi teaches us in her book Enthusiasm, that "seva creates a pond of nectar." Through their offering of seva, through living dharmic lives, through their attainment, I see them enriching the Siddha Yoga legacy and helping protect and preserve this priceless legacy for their own children, and for future generations of Siddha Yogis and seekers everywhere.

Once the children had received Gurumayi’s darshan to their heart’s content, Gurumayi got up from her seat. Spontaneously, we all rose to our feet and sang "Happy Birthday" to our beloved Gurumayi, culminating in the joyous proclamation of our hearts: Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jay!

Click here to read Part XIV

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